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Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal, and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty

3.12  ·  Rating Details ·  781 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
From the founders of the international health-care behemoth Johnson & Johnson in the late 1800s to the contemporary Johnsons of today, such as billionaire New York Jets owner Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV, all is revealed in this scrupulously researched, unauthorized biography by New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer. Often compared to the Kennedy clan b ...more
ebook, 496 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by St. Martin's Press (first published July 30th 2013)
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Books
Aug 31, 2013 Books rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where do I even start with this review? My overall impression can be summarized in one word: un-befreaking-lievable! Seriously. Crazy Rich is most certainly a fitting title for this biography in more than one way. The lives these people have been living since the start of this dynasty are mind-boggling at the very least. At a whopping almost-five-hundred pages, Crazy Rich is a magnificently in-depth, tell-all read. And still I feel all that is only the tip of the iceberg and merely a glance at t ...more
Kristine
Jun 11, 2013 Kristine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I received my free Goodreads First Reads copy of Crazy Rich by Jerry Oppenheimer two days ago and, upon scanning the book jacket and the 'also by Jerry Oppenheimer' page, I was thrilled and riveted by the cast of characters he went on about and all of their tabloid, couldn't-make-this-up antics, and also about the unauthorized biographies he'd written about Martha Stewart, Rock Hudson, and Anna Wintour. With all this in mind, I happily tucked into the introduction about the Johnson family member ...more
John
Jul 30, 2013 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book from a goodreads giveaway. This is also my first written review, so bare with me.

This book just wasn't for me. I can understand how some may enjoy this tabloid style book, but it did not do a whole lot for me. I had hoped for there to be a bit more history with the company, charities, and other business aspects of the family, but these areas were only briefly touched upon. For a family with so many issues, they do give quite a bit with their charities. The author does mention thi
...more
Amelia Gremelspacher

This book poses the thought that while power corrupts, great unearned wealthcan create great dysfunction. "Crazy Rich" discusses the Johnson and Johnson company whose five generations are labeled "the most dysfunctional family in the Fortune 500. While the founders and many of the descendants worked diligently and constantly for the growth of the business; political connections, ruthlessness, and entitlement all played their parts in the growth of this giant that came to stand for health care in
...more
Donna McBroom-Theriot
I have been sitting here pondering my review of CRAZY RICH since I closed the book. I have read many memoirs, but this is my first biography (for review) and it has me pondering how to review the book and the writing, and not pass judgment on the Johnson & Johnson family, because truthfully, I would like to do both. But, since it is not my place to judge people, my review will be of the author's writing.

CRAZY RICH is a excellent read. It is well written, and certainly well researched, includ
...more
Nicola
A couple of weeks ago, while running a completely unrelated Google search, I ended up on the Wikipedia page of Casey Johnson, the latest in a long list of Johnson & Johnson heirs and heiresses to meet an early demise. It was only after I started reading the article that I connected Casey Johnson (tabloid trainwreck; friend of Paris Hilton) to the book I was part-way through reading.

It just goes to show how firmly ingrained in pop culture consciousness the J&J family is. Author Jerry Oppe
...more
Linda
Wow! Talk about a train wreck - and that goes for the book as well as the Johnson family.

The book is accurately summarized in the subtitle. The book is entirely about the family and very little about the business. Divorces, unexpected deaths, drug addictions, a battalion of spoiled rich, few who ever worked a day, relying on inherited monies. Talk about entitlement.

The book does not follow chronology. I'm sure this was more confusing because I was listening to it, but I retained the first time
...more
Sarah Beth
I won this book as a giveaway on Goodreads.

I love reading family histories, so I was very curious to learn more about the family behind the Johnson & Johnson family. Oppenheimer argues in the introduction that most of the Johnsons' tragedies and scandals are not because the family is evil but because they have been corrupted by the extreme wealth most of them have been born into. As a family friend argues, "They are a mixed-up, weird bunch. You couldn't make them up in fiction. The whole fa
...more
Beth
Jun 12, 2017 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
Oh boy! If you want a book about the insane antics and lives of the insanely rich, this is a good one to pick up. I don't when the mental instability started in the Johnson family, however as the generations progressed it definitely reared it's ugly head. And entire huge family, inclusive of exes living off a ginormous trust fund from Band Aids.... There are some very sad parts in the book, quite a few Johnson heirs dying tragically at young ages. It's a Page 6 / Tabloid shocker for sure. Do you ...more
laurel
I won this book through a GR giveaway. I'm not very much into gossip, but I do love biography. Unfortunately, Oppenheimer focuses on the former. He seems a bit obsessed with the misfortunes of the family - putting more emphasis on the people and incidents with the most problems and downplaying the more "normal" attitudes and actions, and sometimes making events seem more extraordinary than I see them, especially with Woody Johnson. It's unfortunate he didn't spend more time on less "entertaining ...more
Wanda
A very secretive family who have always played by their own rules, the Johnson family is one of the richest and most powerful families in the world. Their fortune was intoxicating and toxic at the same time. They were also a very complicated family, but very stoic, rarely showing their emotions.

The Johnson dynasty began with three relatively uneducated, but ambitious brothers, Robert, James, and Edward Mead Johnson. They founded the world's largest health-care business in 1888. Before long it d
...more
Cheryl M-M
From a business perspective the Johnson company has a place in history. Known at the beginning for certain dubious tactics, which led to the initial rise of the brand name. Their influence on products and the marketing of these products is worth knowing from an historical point of view. The importance of their various products and the way they shaped their brand, the packaging and marketing in their early business era is quite memorable. Even now most households will have items made by the Johns ...more
Nancy
Aug 13, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Woody Johnson: Finding an Identity Despite a Dysfunctional Family

Crazy Rich is the story of the highly dysfunctional Johnson family, the ones who brought you the band-aid, Modess, and Johnson's Baby Powder along with other medical innovations like sterile surgical dressings. While the book tells the tales of the many Johnson problems: multiple divorces, drug addiction, and alcoholism to name a few; the focus is on Woody Johnson, a member of the third generation, who found an identity apart from
...more
kathyrn
Aug 13, 2013 kathyrn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forgive me if I enjoyed this book too much for me this is the perfect summer beach read or the perfect snowed in read. Do you have an old metal Band Aid box that you refill from the now paper box, or use tylenol or dental floss then you helped make this family rich. Even with the scandal and tragedy this is an American story, a real soap opera. I first became fascinated with the Johnson and Johnson family story with Oprah had one to the younger members on her tv show.

One of the first incidents i
...more
I ♥ Bookie Nookie (bookienookiereviews.blogspot.com)
WOW! Talk about an eye opening look at one of the most famous family names in (quite possibly) the world!

Who doesn't know the name: Johnson? Maybe a better question would be: Who doesn't know "Johnson & Johnson"? Unless you have been living under a rock for the past... oh say... 100 years, then you most likely know this famous name and you probably own at least 1 J&J product, even if you don't know it! They truly are a family that can easily give the TV show, "Dynasty" a run for their mo
...more
Terri
Jul 10, 2013 Terri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty by Jerry Oppenheimer is an interesting look into one of the few multi-billion dollar American families who made their fortune over the span of generations. The book focuses on many of the key players in the Johnson & Johnson dynasty, from its founder down the family tree to the modern-day trust fund babies growing up in the shadow of the family's scandalous past.

While this book does touch based to the origins of
...more
Kirsti
I love books that feature bitchy gossip about movie stars (such as Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud). And I like books that feature bitchy gossip about politicians (such as The Politician, a former aide's book about John Edwards). But it turns out that I don't like this book, which features bitchy gossip about people who have inherited tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars. Actors and politicians choose the limelight and often have remarkable skills and talent; heirs and heiresses a ...more
Pam Watson
Sep 06, 2013 Pam Watson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clearly, inheriting a crap-load of money is no guarantee of happiness or love. Wow. This family is really messed up. It took forever to read because I kept googling the people for pictures, reading referenced news articles and watching documentaries about the family. I have absolutely no frame of reference for this life of "privilege". This book is fascinating.
Marca
Sep 08, 2015 Marca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title says it all.
Kathy Cowie
3.5 stars

Many years ago there was an article in New York magazine about a bitter dispute among the heirs of Charles Lazarus, the Toys ‘R’ Us founder. At the time, I was young and single, scraping by on a measly salary. I could not understand the greed of these children, who felt that the world owed them a lavish and lazy life. I was so appalled by the story that I wrote a letter to New York magazine, which was printed, after having a lot of my ranting edited out.

Fast forward to last year, when
...more
Julie
Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal, and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty by Jerry Oppenheimer is a Macmillian/ St. Martin's Press publication. This book was released in August 2013.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the DRC of this book.

As the title of the book indicates the focus of this book is on the various members of the Johnson & Johnson family and the scandals and tragedies that have beset them.

We were given a brief history of how the company got it's start, then we mo
...more
Schuyler Wallace
Jerry Oppenheimer, widely known as the Tell-All King, has written another unauthorized biography, this one about the über-rich Johnson family of drug-store fame. According to the author, this is one messed up group, and has been since the early 1900s. His microscopic view of nearly every family member, and it’s a large assemblage, reveals serious problems with being rich, with leading a respectable life, and with getting along with each other. CRAZY RICH is a book that has a title with many mean ...more
Ally
Aug 18, 2013 Ally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

Okay. The Johnson & Johnson family is crazy! Remember the advertisements that always says, "Johnson & Johnson: A family company." Yeah, I don't think so. (Then again, they may be referring to the family of companies owned by the Johnson & Johnson Company, not the Johnson family.) This book, Crazy Rich: Some long subname, depicts the Johnson & Johnson family as a typical rich family lusting after women, men, and cold, hard cash. (Basically l
...more
David Glad
Jul 09, 2013 David Glad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from a goodreads giveaway.

Being the first book I have read by Jerry Oppenheimer, I thought it was quite good and it felt like a higher level of reading versus most biographies I have read. Probably could have read through it had it been over 3000 pages instead of "just" over 450, as once you start reading, it does become addictive in all its lurid details.

As hinted from the title, book definitely had low points, especially Casey Johnson's final months and overall alienation
...more
Vânia Nunes
Nov 03, 2013 Vânia Nunes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vânia by: NetGalley
May throw the first stone who NEVER used a Johnson & Johnson product!!!

Impossible, no? Now that I'm thinking, since I can remember - and this not long ago - I have in my home a lot of their products. It could be a tape, a Band- Aid, a medication for headache, cotton!! My God, cotton!!!

This family began their power thanks to the vision of a man who ruled his newly created family business with an iron hand, enriched and became part of the North America high power.

Because of all the areas in wh
...more
Laura Shavers
I won this through a GoodReads giveaway- apparently 4 years ago, if my date started is any indication. Yikes!
I know that this book is supposed to be about the entire Johnson and Johnson dynasty but SO MANY characters! They were hard to keep track of in my mind. Although these people are beyond rich, they seemed to have a lot of the problems that us normal people have, which was interesting. The drama in their lives was so much, that I'd have been suicidal had I had to deal with that much. I gues
...more
Lisa  Carlson
Sep 28, 2013 Lisa Carlson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This book highlights the founders & family behind the iconic brand Johnson & Johnson. Many of their products are ones in your bathroom; Baby Oil, CareFree, and Band Aides. However, after reading this salacious and well written story by Jerry Oppenheimer you may never look at their products in the same way. While their products and website are marketed to promote a caring, wholesome family appeal; the Johnson family is anything but. When you read the acknowledgements we learn Robert Woody ...more
Jennifer
Actual rating 2.5 stars.

I received a copy of this book a while ago in a Goodreads giveaway.

Hmm, where to start with this book? It certainly had its interesting parts and I am glad I read it, but I didn't exactly LIKE it.

I'm not sure how to write a review here so I'm going to list point form the things that bothered me:

- it was really long. It could have been about 1/2 the size without all the repetition of the phrases like "the baby powder heiress". The repetition made it feel like each chapt
...more
Debbie Krenzer
I received this book free in exchange for a review from Net Galley.

Wow, I thought my family was dysfunctional. It's sad to see there are more f'd up than mine.

I really didn't know a lot about the Johnson & Johnson family, apparently since they try to be such a private family. However, I do remember hearng about the Casey Johnson fiasco and death in the news.

This book really delves deep into the scandalous lifestyle of this family who were pretty much born with a silver spoon as all of the de
...more
Rob Eelkema
Aug 27, 2013 Rob Eelkema rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, the book it self was a great read and well written. With the number of Johnson's, weddings, divorces, children, step-children and deaths, it was nice that the writer would re-establish identities of the subject he was writing about and caused less confusion to the reader.

Secondly, the author provided great insight to the Johnsons through direct and indirect sources and it appears that much of the book's events and stories are accurate but could have been verified only by people tha
...more
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39754
Jerry Oppenheimer is an author who has written several unauthorized biographies of public figures including Hillary and Bill Clinton, Anna Wintour, Rock Hudson, Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters, Ethel Kennedy, Jerry Seinfeld and the Hilton family.

Toy Monster: The Big Bad World of Mattel was published on Feb 3 2009 and his latest book (as of Aug 2, 2009), will be about Bernie Madoff, titled Madoff w
...more
More about Jerry Oppenheimer...

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